The blogosphere is atweet with posts about a legal scholar who says the first president of the United States, George Washington, signed a health insurance mandate bill.
The author of the article is Einer Elhauge.
Elhauge published the article in January in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Elhauge wrote the article in response to opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) who contend that Congress has no authority under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to make people engage in economic activity.
Congress has no more right to make people buy commercial health insurance than it does to make them buy broccoli, PPACA opponents contend.
Elhauge says the founders of the republic showed Congress has the authority to mandate economic activity by approving several measures requiring purchases before 1800.